Parkinson’s and Postural Control
One of the most common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is decreased postural control. This typically presents as a stooped posture with flexion at the hips, a forward head, and rounded shoulders. It can contribute to losses of balance when challenged to reach overhead or pick up items from the floor. A forward flexed posture can impact the ability to breathe deeply, make swallowing difficult, and decrease the volume of your voice. It can contribute to, or even be the cause of neck and back pain.
A forward, flexed posture can result from the muscle rigidity associated with PD, worsen with fatigue, and present at the end of a medication’s dose (wearing off). Strengthening and regular stretching exercises of the trunk can be very helpful in improving postural stability and upright posture. Many of the activities in our daily lives contribute to this forward, flexed posture. These activities include computer work and driving. This highlights the importance of regular stretching to counter this flexed posture. A physical therapist can help you to establish a routine for stretching and strengthening your trunk muscles.
There are many helpful resources available on the internet to help you understand Parkinson’s disease. You can find information on the basics of PD, resources for caregivers, available exercise classes in your area, as well as information on support groups in your area.
National Parkinson Foundation www.parkinson.org
Parkinson’s Disease Foundation www.pdf.org
Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies www.parkinsonrockies.org
Michael J Fox Foundation www.michaeljfox.org
Movement & Neuroperformance Center of Colorado www.centerformovement.orgTags: parkinson's, physical therapy, posture
04 Aug, 2014